By Al Jones
I’ve slowly been adding the occasional Bill Taylor Ashton to my collection and this one completes a seven-day set. I’m a big fan of the XX size and all but one have that designation. The XX size runs around 50 grams, which is right in my wheel-house.
This is my second Sovereign grade Ashton. This RD Field webpage describes the various Ashton grades.
The Sovereign is described as:
The ASHTON Sovereign pipe is rare indeed, for out of every 100 flawless bowls that undergo the ASHTON oil curing process very few come out unscathed. For as the hot oil exudes from the bowl, bringing with it all manner of impurities. Sandspots are brought to the surface as well.
This one came via Steven Fallon’s ebay site, aka The Pipestud. Steve sells unrestored pipes, which works for me. This one was in great shape, needing only a mild clean-up. The Ashtonite stem was only slightly oxidized and the material polishes up brilliantly.
There was a very slight cake in the bowl and a little rim darkening. I used 8000 grade wet micromesh to polish the bowl top. The stain was slightly faded in spots, perhaps from display and the sun? I wiped on a greatly diluted Medium Brown Fieblings stain to brighten it up. The bowl was polished with White Diamond and several coats of Carnuba wax.
I polished the mild oxidation with 1000 grade paper, then 2000. That was followed by 8,000 and 12,000 grade micromesh. The stem was then buffed with White Diamond and Meguiars Carnuba wax.
Below is the finished pipe. The “26” stamp marks it as being made in 2006 (For Bill Taylor Ashtons – 1980 + the two-digit date stamp).
Not all Bill Taylor pipes are drilled properly, but this one was and it passes a cleaner nicely. It also smoked wonderfully, which was not surprising, since it was so clean.